October 2014
Letter from the Editor
Badri Roysam,
University of Houston
Dear ECEDHA Members, Industry Partners, and Colleagues,

In this issue of the ECE Source, we take an in-depth look at how ECE departments are using new technologies to transform the first-year experience, as only ECE departments can. Large lecture halls are increasingly filled by students whose backpacks carry surprisingly capable, yet miniature electronics laboratories. Innovative instructors are using these "labs in backpacks" to inspire, retain, and educate a new generation of students.  The future of the first-year experience looks exciting.

Current Views
Barry Sullivan
Barry Sullivan, ECEDHA
Welcome Back


The theme for the ECE Source this month is first-year experiences for engineering students.  A year ago, I wrote about my expectations for my son's first year as he was beginning an undergraduate engineering education.  It seems appropriate for me to report on his experience as he moves on to his second year.

>> Read more

Featured Articles
Creating Who We Will Be

By Douglas Verret, Ph.D., IEEE Fellow
In contemplating the issue of preparing students for a successful career in engineering, or in any STEM discipline for that matter, I have often wondered why the recipe should be any different than it was when I enrolled as an undergraduate nearly five decades ago.  I don't believe it is.  For me, for the first US engineering enrollees in 1817[1] and for the Roman "civil engineers" who two millennia ago built those marvelous roads, bridges, aqueducts and sea ports I suspect that it was the same thing viz. a) a thorough mastery of mathematics and the appropriate science, b) good work habits and c) motivation.  What else do you need?


Transforming the ECE First-year Experience

By Badri Roysam, Chair, University of Houston

The First Time in College (FTIC) experience is very special for students, parents, and faculty members alike.  This is especially true for Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) departments.  Beyond the usual culture shock, the extra-curricular distractions, and the need to adjust to an altogether new environment, students face challenges that are peculiar to our discipline.  The typical ECE curriculum starts off with a rigorous battery of mathematics and calculus courses, often taught in non-ECE departments, rather than a welcoming discussion of electronics and computers.


The Power of Partnerships

By Ken Connor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Probably the best part of the ECEDHA value proposition, at least as I see it, are the incredible opportunities the organization provides to develop friendships and partnerships with the wonderful people who fill the challenging, rewarding and, frankly, fun role of running ECE or similar departments.  In my active years in ECEDHA, many heads and chairs helped me in countless ways to do my job better...much better than I would ever have been able to do alone.


Changes to the University of Notre Dame First-Year Engineering Course Sequence

By Victoria Goodrich and Yih-Fang Huang, University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame's first-year engineering program started in its current form in the Academic Year 2000-2001 with a focus on creating a common experiential learning opportunity for all first-year engineering intent students.  It started out as a two-semester, multidisciplinary project-based course sequence.



Sponsored Article

Viva the RIO Revolution

By National Instruments

Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once said, "I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember.  I do and I understand."  Despite being 2,500 years old, this sentiment still resonates with engineering students today.


Time is often the enemy when completing complex projects for both professional engineers and students.  Despite time constraints, how do we continue to provide students with meaningful hands-on learning experiences that will ultimately prepare them to enter the workplace as experienced system designers ready to innovate from day one on the job?


ECE in the News
Educators Value Blended Learning
(September 12, 2014, USTelecom Media)
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are designed to provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors and teaching assistants.  They also have been touted as an affordable, accessible online learning option.  However, there is debate among educators as to their overall benefits.
Lack of Research Funding is Hurting the American Dream, Leaders Say
By Allie Bidwell (September 16, 2014, US News)

The American Dream is in trouble.  It's not because of unemployment, a lack of social mobility or the inability of some to buy a home and start a family.  Rather, challenges to the traditional promise of opportunity born from hard work and determination stem from a troubling lack of investment in basic scientific research that supports the health and economic prosperity of the country, according to a new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

>> Read more


The Women Who STEM-ed Their Way to Power
By Leigh Gallagher (September 22, 2014, Fortune.com)

One of my favorite days of the year at Fortune is MPW day, the day the list of Fortune's Most Powerful Women in business comes out.  It's a great celebration of women in power, of women in business generally, and of course it's always great fun to see how the world reacts to the MPW team's picks - who's on, who's off, who jumped to the top of the list, who fell, who's brand-new.
>> Read more 


How Three Teenage Girls Are Solving World Hunger
By Kasey Panetta (September 26, 2014, ECNMag.com)

The key to beefing up the country (and world) supply of engineer and technology superstars is giving them the opportunity to do great things, even if they can't legally drive yet.
>> Read more 


Special Announcements
Now Accepting Nominations for the
2014 ECEDHA Awards!
ECEDHA is now accepting nominations for its 2014 Awards. Nominations are due January 1, 2015 and will be presented at the ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo in March. View more details.
Outstanding Leadership and Service Award
Innovative Program Award

Diversity Award

Industry Award


Corporate Features
ECE Spotlight

Captured live at the 2014 ECEDHA Annual Conference, ECE Spotlight Sessions offer the opportunity to view short corporate presentations and to learn more about what these companies can offer you.

Featured ECE Spotlight Session: 

Emona Spotlight

Presenter: Carlo Manfredini, R&D Director, Emona
ECE Perspectives
ECE Perspectives offer in-depth interviews with leading industry executives.
Featured ECE Perspectives:



Ray Almgren
Vice President, Marketing
National Instruments


Produced by: 

In This Issue
Calendar of Events
December 4, 2014
ECE Webinar - Beyond Office Hours: Four approaches to enrich student engagement
Sponsored by Piazza
March 13, 2015
ABET Workshop
Presented at the ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo
March 13, 2015
Cybersecurity Workshop
Presented at the ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo
March 13-17, 2015
2015 ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo
The Westin Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head, South Carolina
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by Quanser
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by COMSOL
Last Call for 2014 Membership Renewal!

If you have not yet renewed your 2014 ECEDHA membership, now is your final opportunity.  The Annual Survey will be opening soon and only current ECEDHA members will be eligible to participate.

For questions, please contact Megan Bekolay at mbekolay@ecedha.org

Save the Date!


2015 ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo


March 13-17, 2015

The Westin Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head, South Carolina


Regional News
Mid-Atlantic ECEDHA Meeting Report

The regional meeting of the Mid-Atlantic ECEDHA group was graciously hosted by West Virginia University from September 12-13, 2014. Dr. Brian Woerner, Chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department welcomed chairs from six other universities in the Mid-Atlantic Region including Howard University, Wilkes University, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, University of Pittsburgh and Villanova University.


>> Read more

IEEE Standards Education Committee - Grant Opportunities


IEEE would like to highlight the opportunity for college students and faculty to receive grants for design projects using technical and industry standards.


The IEEE Standards Education Committee offers grants for undergraduate and graduate students for use in design projects and capstone projects that include technical standards.  Students will receive $500.00 to help with their projects and faculty advisors/mentors will receive a $300.00 honorarium after the students complete the project and the Standards Education Committee Accepts their final Student Application Paper.


Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year.  Technical standards used in the students projects do not have to be IEEE Standards.


>> Read more


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